5 Easy Fixes for All Your Self-Tanning Nightmares

Sometimes, even when you follow all the rules and employ every trick in the book, you’ll still end up with a less-than-perfect faux glow. But before you resign yourself to Oompa Loompa status for good, know this: there is a cure—five cures, in fact.

 Click through the slideshow above for five easy fixes for all your self-tanning nightmares!


The first thing to do if you notice streaks and blotches? Exfoliate. An exfoliating body scrub, like Bliss’ Lemon and Sage Body Scrub ($15), will help buff away any oversaturated color. It’s also the first thing you should do before you apply sunless tanner if you want an even glow.

Baking Soda

Mix together fresh lemon juice with a few tablespoon of baking soda until the mixture becomes a paste. Then, shower and use your DIY exfoliator to brighten any streaks or too-dark sections. Baking soda is the perfect gentle exfoliator, while lemon is naturally acidic and acts a super-gentle version of bleach to lighten unwanted color. 

Lemon Juice

So you’re out of baking soda—a plain lemon will do. Cut a lemon in half, dip the exposed end into a small amount of brown sugar (the perfect body exfoliator), and gently rub it over any zebra-like parts. Then, just rinse off and apply moisturizer as usual. 

Fill In The Gaps

Sometimes, filling in the gaps is more effective than trying to remove the color. In this case, we recommend using a temporary instant self-tanner, like Clinique’s Self Sun Body Tinted Lotion ($29) or Clarins’ Self Tanning Instant Gel ($40), and adding instant color to any sections you may have missed.

If you’re prone to overdoing it on sunless tanner, keep a product specifically meant for fixing misshaps on hand, like St. Tropez’s Tan Remover ($19). One note—these work best when used as soon as possible after you notice streakiness, so don’t plan on a snooze sesh after applying your sunless tanner.

Click here for our favorite self-tanning tricks

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